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david w. griffith "broken blossoms" (1919)
This movie is part of the collection: Silent Films
Audio/Visual: sound, color
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Subject: Broken Blossoms
This is a really, really sad but beautiful story. It's one of those masterpeices who show that a film doesn't need a dialogue to be facinating, entertaining and convincing. Definitely worth watching!
Subject: Powerful and Heartbreaking Melodrama
Lillian Gish's performance will break your heart! The lead characters are exquisitely fragile, just like flower stems, and beautifully realized. The film gets off to an oh-so-slightly slow start in China, but once the scene shifts to America, you'll be hooked. The closet scene is really harrowing, even by today's standards. Favorite moment: Lucy's reaction when Cheng Huan gives the abused girl her first doll. The print is in surprisingly good shape. "Broken Blossoms" is as fine as, or better than, a lot of films being produced today.
B-Movie Ben -
Subject: Don't do it, Daddy! You'll hit me once too often, and then they'll hang yer.
Cheng Huan (Richard Barthelmess, who became a star with this film and would go on to earn two Oscar nominations) comes to London to make his fortune, but soon finds himself in the drudgery of everyday life.
Lucy (Oscar nominee Lillian Gish) is a 15-year-old girl who is used as a punching bag by her father, a boxer, Battling Burrows (Oscar winner Donald Crisp).
East meets West and flowers bloom.
Lucy smiles for the first time in her life, and is treated like a Princess. But things don't last, as they are found out by Battling Burrows.
Hatred in his heart, Burrows strikes out with disastrous consequence.
D.W. Griffith manages to bring out the best in Gish and Crisp and in a beautifully tinted film gives us a tragic love story.
Subject: Griffith & Gish are brilliant again!
Another brilliant film by D.W. Griffith and Lillian Gish. It is disappointing that so many people focus on the controversy surrounding the movie “Birth of a Nation” that the real message and goals of Griffith’s work tend to be lost. Griffith was a man ahead of his time addressing social issues such as child abuse that so few considered worthy of discussion. Although reluctant to play the role of a child, Lillian manages to pull it off superbly! The closet scene which was not rehearsed and only viewed during filming left Griffith speechless when completed. After viewing the works of D.W.Griffith and Lillian Gish it is easy to understand why Griffith is considered “The father of American Cinema, and Gish “The first Lady of the Silver Screen”. I can’t wait till “Orphans of the Storm” makes it’s début here!
Subject: A classic masterpiece
D.W. Griffith’s movie: “Broken Blossoms” with Lillian Gish is outstanding & far ahead of its time addressing abuse of women. The heroics of the Chinese guy reminds me of a Chinese song in English called the
“lighthouse” which we sung in Elementary School in USA in the 1940’s during World War II. The lyrics were like this:
“You the lighthouse that shines through the darkest seas at night.
You the beacon that guides our ships to China’s dawn.
We follow together & China will be free.
We follow you forever until humanity is free.”
The lighthouse symbolized the Communist Party of China. We sang this song because we were told that the Chinese Communists were agrarian reformers. Recently they switched to Capitalism.